April 06, 2011

Messenger shoots himself

Another article on Goldstone, this time The Guardian editorial titled, Goldstone: the unanswered questions:
It is difficult, in this digital world of instant claim and rebuttal, to say that you were wrong. But Richard Goldstone's retraction of one of the claims of the report that he chaired – that Israel targeted civilians in the war onGaza as a matter of policy – is one such instance. Mr Goldstone deserves credit for honesty.
I doubt if there'll be a whole lot of credit for his "honesty" from hasbara quarters. But has he been honest?
The retracted allegation refers to the attack which killed 22 members of the Samouni family, who, following instructions from Israeli soldiers, were sheltering in a house in Zeitoun. But there are 35 other incidents that Goldstone's team investigated. It found seven cases where civilians were shot leaving their homes waving white flags; a direct and intentional attack on a hospital which may amount to a war crime; numerous incidents where ambulances were prevented from attending to the severely injured; nine attacks on civilian infrastructure with no military significance, such as flour mills, chickens farms, sewage works and water wells – all part of a campaign to deprive civilians of basic necessities. The key paragraph of the report states: "The Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility." On the Samouni killings it states that even if it amounted to an operational error and the mission concludes that a mistake was made, "state responsibility of Israel for an internationally wrongful act" would remain. 
It seems that Goldstone, given his professed zionism, which in his case is unambiguously expressed as a love of the State of Israel, was a bad choice for the task at hand.  See the Magnes Zionist blog for how he openly sought to distance himself from the report that his panel produced.
At appearances following the report, Judge Goldstone showed his discomfort and displeasure with those who wanted to use the Goldstone Report to "delegitimize Israel." He was deeply offended by those who questioned his love of Israel. One incident is particularly telling. At Yale, a banner was unfolded with listed the Dreyfuss Affair, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the Goldstone Report. Now imagine if that had happened to Norm Finkelstein. Finkelstein would have known how to react and what to say; he would be eminently non-plussed. But the act not only flustered Judge Goldstone; he virtually lost his composure. After that speech, the judge was accosted by the Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Shmuely Hecht, who asked him, "What are you going to do when the facts are unraveled and the evidence is clear that Goldstone report was a sham and not credible based on video and audio coverage of the war?" The judge replied, much to the puzzlement of the rabbi, "Should that occur, I will rejoice." (Read about ithere.) 
Poor guy.  It's put a terrible strain on his family.  But then look what happened to far bigger and poorer families in Gaza.  But Goldstone does appear to have tried to undermine the report of the panel he chaired.  Magnes Zionist gets into answering why but this Guardian editorial deals with the if.


Clear to one side the superheated flak of the debate today. It arises from Israel's current international isolation, of which the Gaza operation formed only a part. It is now said that the Goldstone report became the cornerstone of a campaign to delegitimise Israel. None of this is relevant to what happened in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, events which led to the deaths of 1,396 Palestinians, 763 of whom, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, were not taking part in hostilities when they were killed. The report did not in fact claim that Israel set out deliberately to murder civilians. It said that Operation Cast Lead was "deliberately disproportionate" and intended to "punish, humiliate and terrorise". That charge stands unanswered. Indiscriminate warfare, as opposed to deliberate killing, was undoubtedly state policy. Shooting the messenger is always easier than dealing with the message itself. This time, the messenger had the grace to shoot himself. It does not change what happened in Gaza, nor what will happen the next time war breaks out.
So The Guardian is claiming that Goldstone's disclaiming doesn't change anything but that it does amount to shooting himself. Again I say, poor guy. Of course the toll taken on his family has been immense but it is nothing up against what the Palestinians have been suffering, certainly considering cast lead but look what his zionist sympathies and fellow zionists have made him do to his own credibility.

And still the hasbaraniks aren't happy. On the subject of "delegitimisation" of Israel, Engage has the Washington Post article tagged with "anti-zionism". Bizarre!

Finally, I was going to note how Goldstone had hawked his op-ed around the American media. Well, that he had offered the piece to the New York Times anyway but got rejected.  Ernie Halfdram made a comment to this effect linking to Angry Arab News Service which in turn linked to YNET.  Well the YNET link is now broken and the report is now denied by the NYT, on YNET thus:
In an official response to the claims, NYT's Elaine Murphy said that Goldstone had indeed submitted an opinion piece to the newspaper on March 22, which was rejected. Nevertheless, she stressed, the piece did not resemble the one published by the Washington Post.

Still, the New York Times refused to subject the original pieces sent by Goldstone to any comparison with the one published by the Washington Post; claiming they had no right to forward an unpublished submission to a third party. [typos corrected]
What to make of it all?

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